For the first time since 2004, my home state, Ohio, seems to be leaning Republican or “Red” according to the New York Times in their election coverage tonight. Ohio is now, and has been for quite a few elections, something called a “swing state” in pundit-language. A swing state is a state which votes the way the election is going, a state which does not stick either Republican or Democrat consistently through elections, but goes its own way with each election. In past elections, Ohio, with its fairly significant count of eighteen electoral votes, has actually decided elections. The state has, in the past, given candidates the final electoral votes they need to hit 270.
As a registered voter in Ohio, I know that my vote holds more weight than the votes of others. I was told, from the time I turned eighteen and gained my eligiblity to vote, that it was my duty to do so. It is the sad state of the electoral college that my vote, as an Ohioan, simply counts more than a Californian vote.
My vote, this year, will not be for the winning candidate in Ohio.
Yes, the New York Times is strongly projecting that Ohio will swing Trump. Some pundits, with their knowledge of Ohio electoral history, may say that Trump winning Ohio will be a projection of the result of the total election. Those pundits would be wrong. Projections of the country overall see Clinton winning, with her clinching states of Florida and Michigan leaning slightly blue. Michigan has been a particular worry for Clinton, and seems to have replaced Ohio in this election as a key swing state. Both Clinton and President Barack Obama’s visited the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor juts yesterday, ready to rally the troops and cinch that important battleground state.
The feeling in Ohio is that the Midwest state is a kind of petri dish of the country. Ohio is always thought of as a place which portrays “small town America,” not just politically, but also within the entertainment and consumerist worlds. New fast food chains open stores in Ohio to get feedback from citizens who represent the entire country in their temperament. Bands from around the world come to play in Columbus’s Nationwide Arena to test out new albums. Political candidates come to Ohio to do the same—test their platform and their turnout, in order to gauge the feeling of the U.S. as a whole.
Ohio is a land of three urban, fast-paced progressive cities, alongside a huge swath of Republican-leading blue-collar farmland. Usually, it could swing either way. In this election, however, Ohio does not make the decision for the rest of the U.S. Ohio has almost become redundant. Keep an eye on Florida, with its total 29 electoral votes. Florida very well might swing this election one way or the other.
Either way, Ohio has been dethroned from its place as the King of all swing states.